Our Model K right rear wheel has been making constant noise. It doesn't appear to move or seem unstable, but will creak when I pull hard on a few spokes.
I took it apart today (hub) and the wood seems good, but three of the six hub bolts were shiny where the wood spoke must be moving, causing the creaking and clicking.
My plan is to "soak" Qwik Poly into the spokes while on half the hub with bolts in.
Thanks for suggestions,
Would shims where the screwdriver is, between the hub and spoke help?
Someone has performed some Mickey Mouse maintenance on that wheel in the past. Note the shims between the spokes.
I have never seen a wheel where the spokes are not rounded and snug against the hub.
I don't think Qwik Poly will magically cause the spokes to swell.
I wonder how tight the rim is against the felloe? You may be better off removing the rim, shimming the felloe, heating and reinstalling the rim. That may eliminate the need for shims between the spokes.
Rob, I had a similar, but worse, problem with a rear wheel on my '25 Dodge sedan........in fact your hub and wheel is very similar.
I pushed the spokes out as well as I could and tightened the bolts.
I chucked the whole wheel on the brake drum, bored out the inside until I had room for a thick wood donut.
I made a donut from a piece of dry white oak I got from a wood shop here in town, faced, bored it .010" over the hub size, turned it to a .020" press fit and rammed it in.
As press fits usually shrink the ID by half of the press fit it turned out perfectly.
Then I replaced the *&^#%^&#* hardware variety carriage screws with grade 5's.
Rob, ant attempt to shim the hub will push the spokes away from the hub, thereby opening up the baps between the spokes, requiring even fatter shims between them. Really there is no safe way other than having the wheel re-built by Stutzmans or others.
On a metal felloe wheel a more acceptable patch up tightening job could be done by fitting washers between the ends of the spokes and the felloes. That way the centre of the wheel around the spokes is not opened up. But it is still less than 100% safe.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
As mentioned earlier, generally the spokes are tight against the hub. The best and safest solution is to have a new wheel made. In your case, I would be tempted to shim , as you mentioned, but between the hub and each spoke (make sure you are still concentric) then fill between the rest of it with JB weld or some sort of super strong filler, then bolt the hub flange on.
What is with the funny washers on the bolts?
I sent you a PM of how to shim a wheel "properly". At least it is what I feel is proper. You tighten up the spokes against the hub and end up with a stout, safe wheel. I never suggest using "Quick Poly" on a wheel as that is just epoxy and it won't hold up against driving forces.
I would hate to see what a collapsed wheel will do to that lovely K!
It is my opinion that you should either shim the felloe or have a new wheel constructed.
I must add the previous owner had subbed a spoke from another wheel.......when the "donut" was driven in 2 spaces did, indeed develop.
I also had my wood man cut a strip of white oak 3/16" thick.
I used that to make two "wedges" which I glued and drove in.
Everything is tight and ship shape.
Good morning Rob,
Terry is right by telling you to shim up the Wheel between the felleo and the spokes or have a new Wheel constructed. In the scans below some information how it was done in the past.
If you shim up the Wheel at the hub side you are pushing the spoken to the outside of the Wheel and there will be gap between the spokes in the center of the Wheel. The gap will make the Wheel more unstable
For metal felloe wheels you put shims between the felloe and the spokes. For wooden wheels you put the shim between the wooden felloe and the metal clincher rim. Two totally different procedures.
Terry, You are right. That's why my opinion is: the only way to repair the Wheel the right and save way is to rebuild it.
Terry, You are right. That's why my opinion is: the only way to repair the Wheel the right and save way is to rebuild it.
Terry is right - to properly shim a wood felloe wheel the shim is inserted between the rim and the felloe.
If only a couple spokes are loose sometimes you can fix one or two by using a spoke jack and a shim on the end of the spoke. A neat trick I learned is using solid copper bell wire for a shim.
Romex wire conductor works well, just cut a piece that is long enough to wrap exactly all the way around. Use a spoke jack to separate the felloe from the spoke. Carefully stuff the copper wire in so that it wraps all the way around and touches right on the tenon. When you relax the spoke jack it will be invisible.
At the end of the tour you ought to send one wheel to Stutzmann's so they can make a set.
Any repairs will be temporary. The ultimate solution is Stutzman's. As others have indicated, the fact that the hub does not fit snugly into the wheel is a problem. It's surprising, as it appears that's an original wheel but the center was never bored for a close/tight fit with the hub.
Shrinkage will not cause the problem you have. Hickory shrinks only a few thousandths in length, wear at the felly is usually the cause of a loose wheel. Your wheel looks as though it never was made for the hub to be a tight fit. MHO. KB
A tighter fit around the hub? how about running a router to clean up a nice round hole then down to the local exhaust shop and have him flare a sleeve or two to a nice tap or arbour press fit.
Since your wheel supported the car as it was and the spokes look and feel good, I believe the wheel is salvageable by injecting and packing in a rock hard epoxy putty in between the hub and the end of the spokes. In my many years I have never found a better, stronger epoxy than Aluminum Devcon epoxy putty, which actually has aluminum in it for maximum strength. It comes in a 1 lb size with a can of putty and a can of activator which mixes 4:1 ratio of putty to activator. Once mixed it has the consistency of smooth cake icing, so it is very easy to use. It has a work time of about one hour and is fully cured in 16 hours. It also cleans up with water and it is so strong, it can be machined like steel. We use it here at the railcar shop to re-line our 100 ton air jack cylinders. I would remove the hub and spread the mixed putty around the hub, then replace the hub and pack more putty in until no more will go in. Once it is cured, you will have a steel hard, steel tight fit that you should have had all along and it will clean up with water before it sets up, so it will not hurt that nice blue paint on the spokes. Jim Patrick
Thanks for all the ideas guys (that's why I like this forum so much, a wealth of knowledge many are willing to share).
I need the wheel to work for the Dearborn to Lansing tour and OCF. Then I'll try to get the wheels to Stutzman's.
Not sure which of the many suggestions I'll try, but probably a combination of several. I have not needed to take a wheel apart since I was a kid, so I didn't recall, but thought the spokes went all the way to the hub and were pressed in?
I suppose this wheel was rebuilt years ago, and never long enough to reach the hub. Maybe when it was in a museum, the rebuild was just a cosmetic fix?
Rob, If the spokes are solid and strong, I sincerely believe that the Aluminum Devcon putty will solve the problem so well that you won't need to send it off to Stutzman. You'll just need to be sure that the hub is perfectly true inside the spoke ring (using precise measurements all around from hub to rim) and bolted tightly together so that it does not move before the Devcon sets up Good luck. Jim Patrick
Any idea where I might find Devcon? Also, will it adhere to the hub so strongly that when/if I replace the wood, the putty will come away from the hub?
McMaster Carr for the Devcon. I have never used it on wheels but it works great in other applications. I have several wheels with shims between the fellow and rim and they are tight as you can get. They were done many years ago well before I got the cars and seem to last. That said, I am in the process of replacing all the old wheels with new wood. I am not comfortable with relying on 100 year old wood that is supporting the entire weight of a car.
When I took the wheel apart, the bolts were not "peened". Could that be the root of the problem, and the reason three of the bolts are shiny from rubbing on the wood?
I've tried Quik Poly on wheels.
It was a waste of time.
Yes. McMaster Carr. If you don't use some sort of mold release, Vaseline or Saran Wrap around your hub you will need to chisel off the Devcon, or soak it in MEK to remove the cured Devcon (I would lean toward a single layer of Saran Wrap). Yes, it is possible that the un-peined bolts are responsible, but it appears the spokes were made that way because they are so tight at the angled joints.
www.mcmaster.com and type in "Devcon metal filled epoxies" in the search box. The McMaster Carr part number is 74575A72. You can call them at 404-346-7000 and chances are, you will have it by the next day. Jim Patrick
I saw a few negatives on my method of shims between the center tapered part of the spoke, but it has worked great for me. I use a small portable hydraulic jack with a small hydraulic piece that I fit between the spokes and jack them apart. One shim every other spokes usually results in a very tight wheel. Some space between the center hub and the spoke ends is normal. The hub bolts holds this part in place and if the spokes are tight, the wheel is tight.
I have installed new spokes, pressing them in as a set. The spoke ends were not real tight on the hub.
I think some type of putty fix on the center is a waste of time.
My '23 Model T has a rear wheel with tapered metal shim wedges placed or driving in between every other spoke and thin metal banding around the center hub. Done in place or taken apart and pressed back together I don' t know. But it was done in 1953! and still going strong thousands and thousands of miles and 60 years later!
If you fix it up one way or another be sure your bolt holes in the wood aren't loose from movement wear....You may have to fill them up too or plug and re drill.
I've seen guys make hard maple wood wedges , with a slight tapered edge to get started, the width of each spoke and drive them in between the hub and spoke end,,Then trim off the excess...Do opposite spokes...Not one after the other a circular row.
Good luck what every you do?
I have used Kwik Poly with great success. I know others might say otherwise, but it really can be made to work well.
The key, however, was to completely take the wheel apart, remove the felloe and number all the spokes, use Kwik Poly accordingly, and then put everything back together. I used an oxyacetylene torch to heat the rim up and then used a big wooden mallet to pound the felloe into the rim, and it went together tight.
Once it was all in place, I put the hub in and tightened it down, installed it on the car, and used a big mallet to tap (or rather pound) the rim until it was true. Once that was done, in went the rivets and I did my final tightening.
Since my T usually will sit for several weeks between drivings, I check all the spokes before I drive it. They are all still perfectly tight and sound solid when tapped with a mallet.
However, when I'm out of college and actually have some money, I'm going to send the wheels off to Stutzman's to get redone properly.
I think the problem is that the ends of the spokes are uneven and many don't contact the hub. I've seen that before on pre Model T wheels. What happens over time is the wood shrinks and the unsupported spokes start moving around because they are not held tight between the felloe and hub. You can't expect the bolts to hold everything tight.
While banding is the best repair, it is not permanent and requires that you remove the rim from the rest of the wheel, resulting in breaking the paint seal.
If it were my car and I wanted a repair to last a couple years anyway, I think I would bore the center of the wood wheel, fashion a sleeve to place over the hub, wood or metal, as already suggested and shim between the spokes at the hub on every other spoke. Don't shim where there is a bolt hole.
That should last a good while and you don't ruin your pain job. That's what I'd do.
Rob. Anyone who has ever used Aluminum Devcon would not say it is a waste of time in this application, nor would they compare Devcon with an inferior product that they used unsuccessfully.
Even though the spoke ends are not making contact with the hub center (or are not tight as they should be), it appears that the the tapered edges of the spokes are tight against eachother. One concern I have about using small wedges to tighten the spokes against the rim is that, in so doing this, you might loosen the joints between each spoke at the tapered edges, which would remove lateral (side to side) strength to provide vertical (downward) strength.
Ideally, the tapered joints mentioned above should be as tight as possible to give you the lateral strength you need in going around curves and the spokes should be as tight against the hub as possible, to give you the vertical strength you need to support the car. I think with the tight tapered joints you have, you have the lateral strength for taking curves and with the Aluminum Devcon, you will have the vertical strength as well.
Just be sure you are comfortable in your assessment of both joints. If you feel the spokes are as tight as can be against the rim and no wedging is necessary, then pack in the Devcon as mentioned above. If however, you feel it can be tighter, you can apply wedges between the hub and each spoke end to apply the maximum amount of pressure to the rims without loosening the tapered joints and to ensure the hub is centered it would be a good thing. If you were to apply wedges, I think it would be best to drive them in gradually, a little at a time, on one spoke, then do the opposite spoke working your way around the hub until the wedges are in as tight as you feel is necessary before they loosen the tapered joints and once it is done you can pack with Aluminum Devcon. Jim Patrick
I concur that by wedging the spokes against the hub you will very likely create space between the spokes where they tapered against each other. Then you need to shim between them as suggested.
BTW, banding between the felloe and rim is always preferred because it forces the spokes together so rarely are shims needed. In your case, I'd want to preserve the paint and rivets, so I'd do it by sleeving or wedging against the hub and between the spokes.
Of course having the wheel respoked is better but there nothing wrong with repairing them. I've had some last for many years.
On wheels with metal felloes,you can use Oak veneer between the spokes on the flat surface on every other location on the side away from the bolts. Press the spokes into the felloe. Then use popsicle sticks or tongue depressors around the hub and the end of the spokes. Drive these in from side to side to keep the hub centered. The most important thing is to have the hub tight so that the spokes won't move back and forth against the hub as the wheel turns. This works for a car which is not a daily driver. For the best fix, the wheel should be re-spoked.
I can't believe that no one mentioned duct tape!
You could wrap duct tape around the hub before using the Aluminum Devcon. he he
I know a guy that has a bunch of duct tape if you need some.......
Sorry I did not respond sooner. But I do have to say, that wheel is FUNKY!
One thing I did not catch, is, are you looking for a temporary fix for the current tour season? Or a longer fix?
Remember, a cheap*** fix on a light weight car (like a model T) is one thing. But the applied stress to things like wheels goes up exponentially with vehicle weight and speed. The model K wheel is about twice as strong as a (mid-teens) model T, but the patchwork won't be. Shims are shims. Putty is putty.
I believe you are looking to finish the current bunch of tours. Your wheel has held up so far. Maybe due in part to luck. I have never used the Devcon product Jim P recommended. But I have used a lot of Devcon products and have used many epoxy types of products from many different companies including Devcon. I would trust it to help stabilize the spokes around the center. (Maybe a LITTLE plastic wrap to make it easier to remove later?) The worst thing for a wood wheel is looseness. Any motion between any wood and anything else, whether it is other wood, metal bolts, metal felly, metal hub or flange or anything will result in wood wearing away and getting looser fast, thus wearing faster thus getting much looser much faster. The inner and the outer, the hubs and the bolts, the metal parts and the wood parts, all need to work in unison for a wheel to remain tight. A gap between the hub and the center ends of the spokes puts too much reliance onto the flanges and bolts alone.
I destroyed a wheel in fifty miles once on an endurance run. It had been inspected before the run (very tight). I discovered a minor looseness developed by the time of the lunch stop. I figured it would hold up fine long enough to finish the run and fix it later. In less than fifty miles I could feel the wheel on turns and pulled over to inspect it. I could hardly believe how bad it had gotten. I later found that there was at that point, one car ahead of me, and about forty cars behind me. I finished the run, limping the last thirty miles, and came in almost last. In the last miles, I was taking normal turns at under 10mph with straight-aways about 25mph.
I love wood wheels! I want them on my cars! I check them often! They have to be tight if they are going to be driven.
A perfectly good permanent fix could be to cut as little off the hub end of the spokes as is required to make them round inside, and machine a metal (steel or aluminum) collar to fit tight between both the spokes and the hub. But I don't like the amount of the spoke between the two flanges to be too short. It is a "leverage" issue. And you would be getting close to where even I would be getting uncomfortable with it.
Please, drive carefully, but do drive and enjoy, W2
The wood "donut" I made......in place after boring the inside.....don't know if you can make out the shims.
Just a dumb question,but would you use a very slight taper on the id so the tighter the hub get's the tighter the spokes are pushed in the fellow?? What kind of wood? Bud.
I coat the bolts and fill the bolt holes with Bondo when assembling wheels. This results in a very tight fit between the bolts and the holes in the spokes and has eliminated the spokes from moving and shedding paint around the hub. I can only get two bolts at a time assembled and cleaned up before the batch of Bondo sets up so it takes a few steps to complete each wheel. I like bondo over epoxy for this application because it allows the bolts to be easily removed if needed since the Bondo is not super hard.
Art, why not use JB-Weld? Use the regular, not the 5 minute stuff. It's tougher than Bondo.
JB-Weld is a great product and would work very well. At the time I was concerned with being able to disassemble the wheel and felt the Epoxy might make things difficult. In this application where it was only used to fill gaps I felt Bondo would be strong enough. I since have found that heat will easily break an Epoxy bond so my disassembly concerns were unfounded.
U R Right. Disassembly didn't cross my mind. I'm 81 and the thought of taking anything apart again is going farther and farther from my mind...I am going water skiing though this weekend, at Comanche Lake here in California. My 15 year old grandson and I.
I'm with Wayne on this one.
If you think back at the need to actually use a press to assemble the spokes in a wheel ( see Fun Projects) Do you think smoothing in epoxy glue or Bondo it going to place any force onto the spokes to allow them to again do their job?
Soaking the timber in water expands the wood for a shot time to add pressure but just filling up the gaps is a waste of time and certainly not good enough. Especially for driving wheels on a vehicle a lot heavier than a Model T.
Its possible the wheels in top condition are bordering on inadequate for the Model K looking at them in comparison to cars of a similar size.
Even with new spokes a wheel can become loose if it is moved to a region where the moisture content in the air is less and may show signs of looseness. ( eg Constantine)
New rebuilt wheels are the only answer.
If the spokes aren't against the hub, the bolts are supporting the load. Only other thing supporting it is the friction of the wood being lapped between the the hub flanges. Filling with epoxy is a cosmetic fix in my opinion. Machining a ring may help, but it weakens thevwheel on side load. .
It sounds to me like most of you need to go to disk wheels and forget about those "Sorry" wood spokes old Henry dreamed up over a 100 years ago. The disk wheels pictured below have never been loose yet.
Looking at the picture of Robs wheel again, I don't think it is an original set of spokes. Originally the spokes would have all been tight against the hub. These were not fit properly by whoever did the work.
As Erik mentioned someone else has already tried to tighten the spokes by inserting shims between them. I don't see how that would help much without the spokes being a tight fit to the hub.
I like Craig's "donut" repair. That's a good sound way to proceed.
Willie, I'm one of those that loves the look of the "sorry wood spoke" wheels. It is the one aspect that most gives the Model T the old style carriage appearance most of us love, giving the car the title of horseless carriage. BTW, Henry Ford did not come up with the spoked wheel. That distinction goes to the Egyptians who invented spoked wheels over 4,000 years ago to use on the chariots of the Pharaohs armies.
I don't doubt the strength and sturdiness of your disc wheels, but there is something about them that, to me, takes away from the appearance of the Model T making it appear less like a horseless carriage and more like a plain, boxy 1940's or 50's Russian Cold War era taxi, but, to each his own. If you like them, that is the important thing. Jim Patrick
I love that coupe of yours! Of all the mode Ts I have ever seen, other than brass era cars and some speedsters, I think I love that special coupe more than any other (black or improved era) model T I have ever seen! (I forget who built the body?) On that car, the disc wheels are perfect for it! I like the early style disc wheels on model Ts much more than wire wheels on a T. But on almost all other model Ts, I like wood wheels the best! Just check them often and keep them tight! Wood wheels ARE stronger than most people think they are. But they do have to be kept tight or they may tear themselves up in a few hundred miles.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, I have no problem with wood spoke wheels and as you stated, you have to check them on a regular routine. I grab the top of each tire and pull in and out as if I was trying to tear it off the car. If I do no hear a creak, I call it good and go to the next wheel.
I have more than one car and I do drive cars with wood spokes often.
One of the early advertisements showed a car very similar to the one pictured above had "Disteel" wheels. The wheels on that coupe were the wrong year and in very bad shape, so I put the disk wheels on it to match the advertisement.
A "temporary" wheel repair reminds me of the guy who buys a used $10 helmet and $20 firesuit to go racing--that's ok if you've got a $10 head and a $20 body! Would you use 2x4's to build a 100 ft scaffold that you only had to climb up and use once? IMHO I think Craig's donut repair would be the only thing I'd consider.
Jim, did you see the PBS, "Pharoah's Chariots"? It went into the design of the wheels. They started out with 4 spokes, and ended up with six. Makes me wonder if six are all that are needed on cars.
It was interesting how they made a length of semicircle shaped wood. They then bent it into a V at the hub to meet up with the adjacent V, the two pieces making a round spoke. It's easier to see than to describe...
Thanks for all the suggestions and information.
I believe I'll use a combination, and make the ring, also filling in any spaces, and the bolt holes with aluminum putty (arrives Wednesday).
This wheel seemed strong, with no movement when you jacked and attempted to move it. However, a few spokes creaked, and when driving you could hear the steady creaking.
After taking the wheel apart, it seems that because the spokes do not touch the hub, three of the six bolt holes had begun to wear, with some wear to three bolts (only where the wood spoke contacts the bolts) and I suppose wear to the wood hole. There aren't any other wear spots on the spokes or hub.
After wedging the spokes at the hub, and filling any spaces with aluminum putty (to keep anything from moving or loosening) I'll reassemble the wheel and try it. Hopefully it will take care of the noise, and be as steady (or more so) than it was before. I also have six new carriage bolts to replace the worn and stretched originals.
Again, thanks for the help. I'll post a few pics when I begin putting it together,
Good luck Rob. I think you are making a wise decision. Please take pictures as you go from step to step. Jim Patrick
Rob, have you checked the other wheels? Dave
Yes, we tightened the left right wheel shortly after getting the K on the road. On it, the fellow was a little loose on the rim, so we dealt with that. We did not, however go into the hub (although it seems fine).
The wood seems very good. I suspect when the wheels were rebuilt many years ago there were some shortcuts taken, such as the spokes not reaching the hubs. If my work on this wheel proves satisfactory, we'll do the same on the others.
If not, new wheels all the way around......
Check out the article (with pics)in the Jul-AuG 2013 edition of the Horseless Carriage Gazette. It addresses putting an early Cadillac hub into a T wheel. Lots of similarities with your situation. He even talks about putting a ring around the hub if the hole is too big. One of the things I noticed that might help was putting dowels and glue in your wallowed out holes and rotating hub one spoke and redrilling hub bolt holes. Just throwing out ideas. Good luck.
I had a wheel that had loose spokes, and needed to do a temporary repair. I used the shim method between the taper of the spokes with iron on veneer strips. One strip between every other spoke gave me a very tight wheel, but I also had some wear at the tenons and applied a bit of high temp RTV and wrapped the worn part of the tenon with cotton thread and covered with more RTV (the thought on the RTV was to protect the cotton).
This was intended as a temporary repair to get me to an event at Fort Douglas nearly a year ago, and I have drive the car over 1000 miles with no problems in the wheel. The spokes do not quite touch the hub, but I think the strength is in the barrel like ring of wood you get from the mating of the tapered ends, not from contact with the hub center. I plan on seeing just how far this repair will go before it starts to get loose again, as this kind of repair could have been made by Constintine in Africa. A tightly repaired wheel has to be better than a loose one.